England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been charged with causing a commotion which led to a full-blown brawl outside a Bristol nightclub in September last year. His involvement in the series against New Zealand in March remains doubtful after the recent announcement by the British Police force.
The incident in September left a man with a fractured eye socket and police sent their findings to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in November. Since the incident, the all-rounder has been removed from the national side and missed the Ashes drubbing versus Australia.
A statement from the CPS said it received further material in late December.
"Following a review of all the available evidence, the CPS has today authorised the police to charge three men with affray in connection with the incident," it said.
"Ben Stokes, 26, Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26, are all due to appear before Bristol Magistrates' Court on a date to be fixed in relation to this charge."
The 26-year-old was included in the preliminary squad to face New Zealand in March, but that was subjected to any charges registered against him. He was also initially part of the squad in line to face Australia in the current ODI series but has been replaced since. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed its selection panel will convene within the next 48 hours to make a call on Stokes in relation to his involvement with the national side.
“ECB is aware that Ben Stokes has been charged with affray in relation to an incident in Bristol in September,” an ECB spokesperson said in a statement.
“The Board will now convene within 48 hours to decide on Ben Stokes’ availability to represent England at this stage.
“A further announcement will be made in due course.” the ECB said.
He could still feature in next month's T20 tri-series in Australia and New Zealand if given the green light by the ECB, however that seems highly unlikely. Stokes may face a race against time to be a part of the tournament this year.